How to avoid Star Wars spoilers online

After "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hits theaters, can you avoid spoilers and still be online? Nothing is foolproof, but there are tools to prevent seeing spoilers before you see the movie.

Lucasfilm

My son and I are excited for "The Force Awakens," but we will likely wait to see a matinee next week when he is on holiday break from school and the crowds have (hopefully) thinned out a bit.

Until showtime, I would like to continue my life online while avoiding any and all Star Wars spoilers, which I expect to be legion after the movie opens this weekend.

Thankfully, there are some tools that can help keep me in the dark until I'm seated in the dark listening to John Williams's opening theme.

Chrome extensions

If you are a Chrome user, there are a number of extensions that will block Star Wars-related content.

Rick Broida covered Spoiler Alert, which forces you to create an account with an email address and date of birth before letting you set up a filter in the movies category for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Richard Trenholm covered Star Wars Spoiler Blocker, an extension created specifically for "The Force Awakens" that also forces you to create an account and can be pretty aggressive in its filtering efforts.

To these two Chrome extensions, I'll add Unspoiler. It's quick to set up and I found it to be useful in shielding my eyes from Star Wars content, including on Facebook and Twitter, without totally disrupting my Internet wanderings. Unspoiler lets you add terms you want blocked and then when it finds content related to those terms, it blocks the content with a red box.

Each box contains a Show spoiler and a Save spoiler link. The Show spoiler links removes the red box so you can access the content hidden behind it, and the Save spoiler link lets you save links to the Unspoiler website, which you can retrieve after seeing the movie.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Facebook spoilers

I found Unspoiler to be effective in blocking Star Wars content on Facebook, but if you're nervous about encountering spoilers on Facebook in particular, there is F.B. Purity. It's a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and other browsers that lets you filter out key terms.

F.B. Purity throws an overwhelming number of filtering options at you, but for our purpose of avoiding Star Wars spoilers, you need only concern yourself with the Text Filter field. Enter as many Star Wars terms as you deem necessary, click the Save and Close button and Star Wars-related items will be removed from your news feed.

At the top of your news feed, the extension shows you how many posts it removed and lets you toggle between showing and hiding the blocked items. You can tweak your filtering option by clicking the FBP button that the extension adds next to the Home button in the top banner of Facebook.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Mobile spoilers

Of course, F.B. Purity works only when you are on Facebook on a computer; mobile Star Wars fans may want to steer clear of Facebook on their phones and tablets until they see the movie. You can filter Twitter on mobile devices, however, with the TweetBot 4 app. And on the desktop, you can set up filters with TweetDeck.

Both aforementioned Twitter apps lets you mute certain terms in settings, which hides tweets with those terms from your feed. In addition to Star Wars terms, don't forget to mute hashtags, too: #starwars, #theforceawakens and maybe even #TFA.

My pick for the best filtering tool is Unspoiler. It's quick and easy to set up and effectively blocks Star Wars-related content across all sites including Facebook and Twitter without completely interrupting the rest of my Internet experience.

What steps are you taking to prevent seeing Star Wars spoilers? Let me know in the comments below.

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